The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 21, 2001 · Page 13
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 13

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Salina, Kansas
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Saturday, April 21, 2001
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Page 13
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SATURDAY APRIL 21, 20di THE SALINA JOURNAL Great Plains A LOOK AHEAD / B2 DEATHS / B3 FUN/B6 BRIEFIY Severe storms strike north-central Kansas Winds the National Weather Service estimated at 60 mph caused further damage to at least one business in Plainville about 7 p.m. Friday that was still recovering from an April 11 tornado. The earlier storm damaged 79 homes and 18 businesses in tills town of about 2,000 residents. Denzel McNeal, Rooks County's emergency management coordinator, said trees and power lines were downed in Friday's storm. He said inventory was pushed around Schult Homes, the town's largest employer. He said a temporary roof put on the building following the Aprilill tornado was torn off. "There was some really strong straight-line winds," McNeal said. "There was a real strong front that came through." High winds also knocked over two tractor-trailers on Interstate Highway 70 in Trego County, according to the Kansas Highway Patrol. There Iwere no injuries. The National Weather Service reported it had heard of wind damage south of Highway 36 near Agra in Phillips County • A Phillips County dispatcher wouldn't release information on the extent of the damage. ; In Ellis County, north of ;Hays, a lightning strike : sparked a small fire in a field. ;The fire quickly was brought ;under control, a dispatcher jthere said. ! Thunderstorm watches were 1 issued over most of north-cen- :tral Kansas Friday evening. McVeigh's attorney to be featured on TV WICHITA — With his former client's impending execution scheduled for May 15, Stephen Jones provides compelling insight into the mind of mass murderer Timothy McVeigh as part of the annual "Ask A Lawyer" program to air from 8 to 9 p.m. April 27 on KPTS/Channel 8. Jones' interview, conducted by Wichita Bar Association President Yvette Gardner, was taped earlier this month at Jones' law office in Enid, Okla. Extended excerpts from the interview are part of the annual KPTS program, produced in commemoration of Law Day each year in cooperation with the Wichita Bar Association. Jones also will be the featured speaker at the WBA annual Law Day Luncheon May 1 at Century n in downtown Wichita. His appearance reflects the WBA's Law Day theme of "Representing Unpopular Clients and Unpopular Causes." , The KPTS show also will feature a panel of Wichita judges and attorneys who will discuss the Law Day theme in depth and also take viewer calls. Scheduled panelists include Judge David Kennedy, criminal department of Sedgwick County District Court, and local attorneys Dan Monnat, Kevin O'Connor and Dave Rapp. National Guard range source of booms Loud booming sounds heard throughout the Salina area Thursday can be traced to the Smoky Hill Air National Guard Range west of the city Chief Master Sgt. Robert Bock of the Air National Guard said crews were conducting the annual range clearance — sweeping the range and disposing of old ordnance by exploding it with charges. "We do it every year in April," Bock said. Bock said the charges might have sounded louder than usual because of low clouds. "That makes it more apparent for a longer distance," he said. Crews were at the bombing range for several weeks conducting the sweep. Most of the old ordnance was destroyed Thursday From Staff and Wire Reports CORRECTIONS ••••• ThB Journal wants to set the record straight. Advise us of errors by calling the Journal at (785) 823-6363, or toll free at 1-800827-6363. Corrections will run In this space as soon as possible. Spring has sprung A Kansas Wesleyan University student waii(S toward tiie dorms on campus Friday afternoon amid biooming crab apple trees. Several of the trees adorn the campus. Photos by JUSTIN HAYWORTH The Salina Journal • SALINA RESCUE iUIISSION Mission worker accused of stealing clieck As a result of alleged theft, rescue mission changes procedures By SHARON MONTAGUE Vie Salina Journal The Salina Rescue Mission has changed some policies and procedures following the theft this past month of a donation check mailed to the charity Steve Kmetz, executive director of the mission, also is working with donors to try to ascertain whether other money was stolen. "We feel very sad that this has happened," Kmetz said. "We are making every effort to prevent this from happening again, and we believe we have." Salina police Lt. Mike Sweeney said a Salina couple, David Jennison, 41, and Kathleen Jennison, 45, are expected to be charged with misdemeanor theft in connection with the incident. Sweeney said someone took a $35 check, whited out "Rescue Mission" written on the "payable to" line, and wrote in "Dillons." The check was cashed March 22 at a Dillons store. When the donor received the check in her bank statement and noticed the alteration, she notified the Rescue Mission, Kmetz said. At the time the check was taken, David Jennison was an employee of the Rescue Mission, and one of his duties was to pick up the organization's mail. T U.S.-CUBA RELATIONS In a related matter, the couple have been charged in Saline County District Court with stealing and cashing checks that had been made out to Anesthesia Associates of Central Kansas, 1300 E. Iron. Sweeney said the two took the Anesthesia Associates checks after they were mistakenly placed in the wrong post office box. The total amount of those checks was about $100. Doing an internal review Since the discovery of the forged Rescue Mission check, the mission has done an internal review of its policies. Changes have been made in mail collection, and the lock has been changed on the organization's post office box. Kmetz also has written letters to 3,600 of the organi- zatin's donors in an attempt to ascertain whether other donations were stolen. Each letter details the amount of money the Rescue Mission has received from the donor in the past year and asks the donor to check his or her records, to make sure the amounts match. Kmetz said people who received the letters have been supportive. "They understand that we have reacted properly," he said. "As soon as we learned of this, we addressed the issue, and we are following through. We are being pro-active." • Reporter Sliaron Montague can be readied at 823-6464, Ext. 129, or by e-mail at sjsmontague @saljournal.com. Rep. Moran pleased with Cuban contact Kansas congressman hopes to bring about end to U.S. embargo By NATE JENKINS The Salina Journal A trip to Cuba by U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and a congressional delegation that wants to open communication and a new market for agricultural products didn't yield any concrete deals, but it did build hope the island nation is interested in buying U.S. products, Moran said Friday Fresh from a four-day trip to Cuba, Moran spoke to reporters Friday morning about his meetings with that coun- IMORAN T EDUCATION FINANCE Irreconcilable differences? Senators will try, try again to reach funding compromise By JOHN MILBUFtN The Associated Press TOPEKA — A group of senators will try again in the coming days to persuade colleagues to feed more money to the $2.26 billion gorilla known as public education. Not all legislators believe more money will improve education for the state's 468,000 students. In fact, many would argue the gorilla needs to go on a diet. School finance will be a key issue for lawmakers when they reconvene Wednesday to wrap up their business for the year. "School finance is not about the formula, the state board of education or administrators. It's about our children," House Speaker Kent Glasscock said. "And our focus ought to be on the basic education we provide for every student." The House and Senate have taken divergent paths this session. House members have looked predominantly at student outcomes, while the Senate has listened to superintendents and advocates who say more money is essential. To that end, the Senate Education Committee completed two days of meetings in the past week, drafting its second finance proposal. Like the first plan — which received a lukewarm reception — the package raises base state aid per pupil and requires a tax increase. As written, the plan would add $90 to the base state aid per pupil, raising it to $3,910; fund special education at 88 percent of excess costs; and dedicate $8.9 million to extended learning, such as all-day kindergarten, weekend classes or summer school. Senators would finance the package by increasing the sales tax to 5.0 percent from 4.9 percent, raising $36.7 million, and raise $20 million by imposing an estate tax on non-blood relatives. The remaining revenue would come from existing sources. The committee's first plan was a two- year, $263 million plan financed by higher taxes on sales, tobacco, alcohol and soft drinks. It raised the base state aid per pupil by $240 in two steps and set aside money for rewarding teacher and school achievement. But even while drafting the new plan, senators differed as to the greatest needs in education. For example. Sens. Janis Lee and John Vratil had a lively exchange over how much to increase the per-pupil figure and aid to mid- and large-size school districts. Lee, a Kensington Democrat who represents small districts faced with declining enrollments, wanted a higher base aid figure. Vratil, a Johnson County Republican, speaks for schools larger than 1,725 students and wanted to tweak the formula in their favor. Their discussion illustrated the range of needs among the 304 districts. Some districts, such as Morland in Graham County lose money in all budget scenarios because of declining enrollment. The district is one of three in western Kansas closing its high school at the end of the current academic year. Others, like affluent Blue Valley are growing, and taxpayers have been willing to dip into their pockets to pay for new buildings and advanced programs. Vratil did get the committee to agree to put the special education money into the finance formula, rather than keeping it separate. Doing so increases the total budgets for districts and allows them to raise additional dollars through extra local option budgets of up to 25 percent. Dale Dennis, deputy commissioner of education, said to "launder" special ed funds would not change the amount districts receive but would be a trick to get more mUeage out of the formula. The House has passed a bill raising the cap on local option budgets to 30 percent, subject to public vote. The bill is criticized as being a tax shift from state to local units. Glasscock sees it differently "Not allowing the children to have access to enhanced resources in the name of equity is, in my estimation, selling the children short," he said. try's government and trade officials. Those meetings didn't include talks with Cuba's controversial, longtime leader, Fidel Castro, who Moran said was busy, "Out criticizing the United States because of the Bay of Pigs." Thursday marked the 40th anniversary of the thwarted invasion of Cuba by a CIA- trained exile army determined to overthrow Castro's government. See MORAN, Page B3 T EDUCATION A link to the future Gov. Graves signs law to create networic between communities By CAROL CRUPPER Harris News Service TOPEKA — Students in classrooms across Kansas participated in history Friday as they witnessed Gov. Bill Graves sign Kan-Ed, the first bill to he- come state law over interactive video. With a few waves of encouragement from Sublette, Oakley Clearwater and Greenbush, the governor put pen to paper. "This is going to give us an opportunity to link schools, to link hospitals, to link libraries together, to share valuable information," Graves said. The Republican governor said it offers Kansans a chance to fill gaps in programs that exist in schools around the state, especially in remote locations. 1^^ GRAVES See LINK, Page B3 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BEN WEARING, DEPUTY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT 8jbwearlng@8alJournal.com

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